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Economic Impact Analysis of Maine’s Eastern Trail Helps Support Hall of Fame Induction

September 1, 2022 Jessica Tagliafierro
Scarborough Marsh on the Eastern Trail
Scarborough Marsh along the Eastern Trail

The Challenge

Southern Maine’s Eastern Trail is a multi-use trail that extends approximately 65 miles from Kittery (at the New Hampshire border) north to South Portland. The trail is one of the most popular outdoor recreation assets in the region and attracts many visitors to the counties and cities/towns it passes through.

To help generate support for future expansion efforts, grant applications, and marketing initiatives for the Eastern Trail, the Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission (SMPDC) needed to quantify and explain its economic impact on the region’s outdoor recreation industry.

The Solution

In 2021, SMPDC commissioned Camoin Associates to conduct an economic impact analysis of the Eastern Trail, as well as the economic impact of its future expansion.

To allow for flexibility in future planning, Camoin Associates presented the impacts from expansion as “per $1 million of new construction” and “per 100 new trail users.” Camoin Associates calculated the impact both on the Southern Maine region and on the entire state.

The Impact

In its analysis, Camoin Associates found that there would be nearly 250,000 users of the trail in 2021 (user-days, not unique users). These users and their associated spending would then support over 200 jobs in southern Maine, as well as significant employee earnings, sales, and tax revenue.

These regional and statewide impacts provide a clear picture of the economic benefit of the trail, which SMPDC will use in applications for grant funding for future enhancement and expansion efforts.

In 2022, the results of the economic impact analysis completed by Camoin Associates were used to support the Eastern Trail’s induction into the Rails to Trails Conservancy’s Rail-Trail Hall of Fame, which includes 35 other former railroad corridors across the US. The trail’s contributions to southern Maine’s economy and quality of life were key factors in its selection for this honor.

“This trail is an inspiration. It demonstrates how a long-distance trail can serve as the foundation for a regional trail network that connects people and places, providing safe and accessible transportation options, economic opportunity, and a boon for everyone’s quality of life.”

Ryan Chao, President, Rails to Trails Conservancy

Are you interested in demonstrating what your project, program, or development means for the community in terms of jobs, tourism, or private investment? Contact Camoin Associates to learn more about our impact analysis services.